HOAs can often be very interfering and in this case, a parent was forced to take down the tree house built for their kids.
Having a treehouse to play in is one of the highlights of every kid's childhood. It's a place for bonding between siblings and friends. However, one kid no longer has that opportunity after someone in the neighborhood made an anonymous complaint to the homeowner's association forcing the parent to take down the treehouse. The heartbroken parent wrote a letter to the complainant letting them know how cruel they were in having the tree removed. The letter by the parent is addressed to the "anonymous passerby" and calls out their "casual cruelty." The note was pinned to a tree.
"The complaint you lodged against the HOA was heard. They had me take down the small treefort that I built on this location with my sons during the pandemic," wrote the parent. "No longer will its presence offend your walk past my house. Please enjoy your stroll free from the sound of my children's play and laughter. They are safely back inside now, watching television I'm sure." The image of the note was shared on Reddit where it went viral. The post was upvoted 105,000 times.
Many others shared their own problematic stories of HOAs interfering in people's lives for no valid reason. As in the case of this parent, many were simply abusing the HOA rules to annoy and make life harder for those living there. "Now, they will report them for not getting a permit to place that note on the tree," joked one person. One person called on the parent to fight back by getting elected to the HOA. "Dave, Fight back. Don’t let them win. Take over the HOA and change the rules. Work from inside the system if you must. Don’t let the children down. I really really need to know you didn’t let this idiot have her way. Let me know if you need help. Dave’s of the world UNITE!" they wrote. Another person recollected his own experience of his HOA interfering for no reason. "I remember when I was 13 and just moved into a new house, finally got my own room after sharing a room with my brother for as long as I can remember. I was so excited to decorate my room. I hung pictures of things I drew on my window. The next day, my parents got a note and fined. We were told to take those pictures down because "they make the houses look cheap." I was sad and have hated HOAs ever since."
One person said the best way to respond was to demand proof of enforcement of all the laws. "So, this is the ultimate in petty, but if you’re cited by your HOA, check your state’s (assuming US) laws regarding HOAs. My state has a law where if they enforce one violation, they have to enforce all. I had an issue with my HOA, so I went around and took photos of a bunch of HOA violations I could see from the street (I tried to keep out identifying info). I asked them if they would show me where they had enforced these. I haven’t heard back in over a year," they wrote.
HOAs can be very petty as one Reddit user pointed out. "In my wife's old neighborhood, people would ride horses around since the streets are basically 4 car lanes wide with houses that had at least 2 acres of land. There were tiny yellow signs of people riding horses on some of the stop signs. Someone would install signs with unicorns every now and then but the HOA would immediately take them down as the HOA did not approve those signs because there were no unicorns," noted one person. Another person opined, "It is interesting that American society is so shallow that a treehouse or unapproved color or non-standard decoration can get you in hot water, but your neighbor being a homophobic, misogynistic, adulterer, and all-around a$$hole is no big deal," added one person.